Big Kiss Followed By Harsh Slap

Slap

So I share this story not out of anger, but to tell of something important that happened to me.


It was when I was very sick last year from surgical complications…


And someone did one of the nicest things for me…and also one of the most hurtful.


This was at the point of hospitalization #3, I think (there was more after), and the doctors were shaking their heads–uh, not a good sign. 


Frankly, I didn’t know anymore whether I was going to make it. 


At that time, someone close reached out to me and my wife and said they were going to hold a prayer vigil for me in their home one evening to try and help. 


They did and even sent me photographs of the wonderful people taking the time to ask G-d to save me…I was deeply moved and grateful. 


But subsequently on a phone call with the person who set this up, they said to me seemingly with resentment at having to have done it and undoing all the good they had done…


“You know you really need to get some zechusim of your own!”


Zuchusim means qualities or deeds that merit some reward or good.


In other words, I was getting judged and scolded and was being told that I was in pain, suffering, and sick because basically I MUST be an aweful person who deserves it


And if not for her organizing the prayer group and those others with zuchusim that attended, I on my own probably did not even deserve to live. 


Gee, thanks for the slap, slap, and slap.


While I am sure her words were intended to help me by exhorting ultimate life betterment, at the time and even now, the roughness and shrill of them hurt–it’s nothing less than a matter of soul!


While I am no saint–and I think few of us can claim that title no matter how hard we may put ourselves on that lofty pedestal–I know that in my own way–maybe not the most traditional way that other religious people can fully relate to–I try my best to serve G-d, be a decent human being, and a good influence…while not perfect by any sense of the word. 


Laying sick and vulnerable, I needed to be told that I was okay and everything would be okay with G-d’s blessing–that whatever the suffering and whatever the reason, my life has good in it and meaning to it–even while we can all better ourselves. 


But while I felt the kiss from this person when they organized the beautiful prayer group for me, I soon felt the sting of the slap from the strict harsh “religious” judgement from someone that didn’t even really know my days in and outs. 


While I know I can do better–and I am committed to continue to try to learn and grow as a person–and serve G-d and help others–but for crying out loud have some compassion, go easy on the severity of the judgement and exhortations, and maybe give some benefit of the doubt. 


Words have meaning even though deeds surpass words, and we should be careful with both. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos posting of Batmancomic.infogenerator)

Lock Or Peephole

Privacy
So is that keyhole in privacy for a lock and key or as an exhibitionistic peephole?



The New York Times had an excellent article on this yesteday, called “We Want Privacy, but Can’t Stop Sharing.”



We are compelled to share online to demonstrate that we are:



– Important

– Interesting

– Credible

– Competent

– Thoughtful

– Trustworthy



The problem is when you inappropriately overshare online, you may leave youself little to properly disclose in building real-world intimate relationships in a normal give and take of “opening and closing boundaries.”



Moreover, being like a lab rat or in a house of glass walls for all to watch indiscriminantly can leave us with feelings of “low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.”



Being under observation–even when it is voluntary–implies being open to judgement and this can drain us of our ability to be ourselves, creative, and take calculated risks.



We don’t want to become too busy brushing our hair back and smiling for the camera and making everything (artificially) look like made for reality TV (e.g. Kardashian) perfection. 



The key to privacy is to disclose what needs to be shared, put a lock on what’s personal, and not arbitrarily leave the peephole eyes wide open. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to g4ll4is)

Reflections On Our Journey


As we approach the holy Yom Kippur, the annual day of Judgement following the Jewish New Year, we realize how everything is in G-d’s hands…



But we can repent, pray, and do good deeds to influence our journey and Hashem’s decree. 



Thank you Betty Monoker for sharing this wonderful, thought-provoking video at this reverent time of year. 

Will You Take The Next Exit Or Not?

Will You Take The Next Exit Or Not?

I’m not really into the psychic stuff.

First, I learned in Yeshiva that we are not supposed to divine the future.

Second, I don’t think we’re supposed to know what we’re not supposed to know–it take the edge of the challenge in life (almost like trying to gain an unfair advantage in going through life’s ups and downs, which is how we learn and grow).

Third, I think there are a lot of charlatans out there (not everyone, but a lot).

But one idea recently, from Sylvia Brown, has got me thinking.

The idea is that we each have Exit Points in our lives–“precise times and ways when we’ll leave here and go Home again.”

Brown says we each have 5 of these exits planned in our lives–“and we can use any one of the five we want, as we go along, depending on whether or not we feel we’ve accomplished enough of what we wanted from this lifetime to begin with.”

Thinking back to my own life, I can clearly see times when it seemed like my number was up.

Each occurrence was dramatic and looking back now, sort of surreal.

During these exit points, I know that I was just inches from death and that G-d brought me back.

This is where I differ from Brown, I don’t think it was my choice to live or die, but I think it was a time of judgement, when G-d decided whether to let me live on (although, perhaps, I had some input as far as G-d is concerned).

The exit points are not escape hatches like from the Matrix, where we can choose to stop or “exit program,” but rather times in our lives when we are given the opportunity to go on or not.

Also, I think the decision of whether we stay or go is based in part on whether we’ve accomplished our mission, but also on those around us who will be impacted–that’s why it takes G-d to figure out all the combinations and permutations to make the call.

Bad things happen and people die suddenly and violently or even excruciatingly slow and painful deaths–and in other cases people survive to die another day–we really don’t know what is going to happen.

Part of not knowing tests us–sometimes to our limits and perhaps for some even beyond (although I was taught in Yeshiva that G-d never gives us more than we can handle).

We live, we die, and perhaps we live again i.e. through reincarnation–a mechanism of ultimate justice and learning.

Will G-d permit us to continue as ourselves in this go around, to come back as another in a future spiral, or is it really “game over”?

I thank G-d for letting me live to continue my journey–I still have so much to learn here and now–what the future brings, only the merciful Almighty knows. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I, U, Y Talk Like That

I, U, Y Talk Like That

Already young children in pre-school learn that “Words have meaning, and words can hurt.”

All through life, we refine our communication skills learning what works and what doesn’t.

Here are three letter-words with which to beware:

– “I” (Use sparingly) – I is usually people’s favorite word; they love to talk about themselves. I this. I that. I like. I hate. The problem is that “I” can also be selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic. Without tempering talking about I all the time, you run the very large risk of overdoing it. All the I can easily end up boring other people to near death or simply make them want to run the other way to get some needed healthy attention for themselves.

– “U” (Use carefully) – U is most often used to criticize. U should do this. U did something wrong. U are a blankety-blank. While it’s also caring, loving, and empathetic to talk about U (i.e. taking a genuine interest in the other person), talking about U can easily go astray and lead to disapproval, denunciation, and censure. We should and need to talk about U, but more from the perspective of understanding U and how can I help U.

– “Y” (Use almost never) – Y is used to ask questions, but usually ends up being used judgmentally. Y did you do that? Sometimes we question honestly and with positive intentions to understand, but very often we end up using the response to evaluate their actions, and pronounce judgement on them. From all the interrogative questions (who, what, where, when, Y, and how), Y should be used the absolute least, if ever.

I, U, Y – are letter-words that can imply selfishness, criticism, and judgement.

While, they can’t exactly be banned from the alphabet or dictionary, they are dangerous words that can get you misunderstood, alienate others, and hurt people in the process, and therefore use them, but with extreme caution, please. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to id-iom)

The G-d Watch – Live With The End In Mind

I used to have this manager who was within a couple of years of retirement.

She kept a jar of beans on her desk.

Each bean represented one day of work.

And every day, she would take one bean out of the jar.

This was her way of counting down to the end of her career (and the beginning of her retirement).

Anyway, trust me when I say, that we were counting down too–even without the beans. 🙂

At work, some people may even say of someone just hanging on or just hanging-out waiting to retire that they are Retired In Place (RIP)–a pun, on rest in peace.

Uh, not funny, but when people know the end is coming (either for career or their life), they often change their behavior–they focus on what what’s coming next.

With the end of career, perhaps they are imaging sunny skies, palm trees, and margaritas in retirement.

And with end of life, people are often thinking about judgement day–and how they spent their lives: in love or hate, purposeful or without direction, doing good or taking advantage.

So it’s very interesting to me how this company, Tikker (funny name, as a watch often makes the sound tick-tock, but also a person’s heart is referred to as a ticker), developed a watch (the Death Watch) that not only provides the time, but actually counts down–years, months, days, and even hours, minutes, and seconds–not that they can be so precise–to your expected death.

The watch is supposed to give people new perspective and encourage them to live a better life.

Someone who is going to purchase the watch fills out a questionnaire with information on family health history, age gender, and race, and then they get their estimated date of death, for the countdown!

With the DOD (date of death), we now know what we are dealing with–for better or worse–and of course, subject to change, by the One Above.

But like the boss looking to retirement who took out a bean a day from the jar, we too can look towards our own mortality–not in a sad way, but in a fundamental human way–one that guides us, with the end in mind, to make better decisions for the time we have in life.

Despite, what almost every young person seems to believe, we are not immortal–and the stupid things we do when we are young or throughout of lives comes back to haunt us (whether smoking, drinking, overeating, or other bad stuff).

And so we must choose to live every moment, not as if we have forever, but rather with purpose, passion, and poetry–until the clock runs out on all of us, as it inevitably will.

Outrage At Bogus Judge Baugh

Outrage At Bogus Judge Baugh

Injustice, Injustice does Montana Judge Todd Baugh pursue.

G-d, hope you are listening…

BBC reported about this bogus Judge Baugh who called a 14-year old girl that was raped by her 49-year old teacher, “as much in control of the situation” as the man who assaulted her.

The poor girl later committed suicide, which her mother probably rightfully attributed to the distress from the rape and aftermath.

And what does the judge do to mete out justice? He sentences the rapist to 15-years in prison AND suspends the sentence for all but 31 days with 1 day time already served.

The victim was raped and is dead and the rapist gets not 30-years, but 30 days!

While the judge who is under pressure to resign has all of a sudden expressed his deep remorse, it is almost unbelievable that this is someone charged with seeing that justice is served.

Shock, disbelief, outrage…what can you say about such a justice.

While there is certainly a time and place for empathy, compassion, and mercy–would anyone in their right mind, see this as one of those cases?

For all who believe that this world is not the end, but just the journey, I’d venture to guess that the 14-year old girl is not done either with her rapist or the judge who mocked her suffering and death.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Measure Of A Person

The Measure Of A Person

Another candidate for picture of the week.

This guy is wearing “tape measure” suspenders.

Oh, how fashionable!

While the true measure of a person is their good deeds and relationships (to man and G-d), perhaps the suspenders is a reminder that we should take the time to stop and measure ourselves both quantitatively and qualitatively in our lives.

As we approach the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and judgement, it is a good opportunity to take measure.

Performance management is not just for work–we can look at ourselves both personally and professionally and commit to do better.

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Yes, I Mean No

This is a hilarious video of a social experiment.

This girl–a complete stranger–goes up to random guys and asks “Would you have sex with me?”

On the top there is a running counter–thumbs up or down–for how many of these guys say yes or no.

The final count for this girl and the complete strangers is 50-50!

The reactions of the guys who stumble all over themselves ranges from “Are you crazy?” and someone who actually calls the police on her to “Why not?” and “I will definitely have sex with you!” or how about this guy who offered up a middle of the road approach of “Would you like to hang out with us first?”

In a companion video, they reverse the social experiment, and a guy propositions random girls with the same cavalier question.

In 100 cases, he was rejected!

So are women more discriminating? Are they looking for intimacy while men are looking for a physical hookup? Or are men just driven by their chemistry, evolution, and species preservation to procreate far and wide?

While the girl chosen for this experiment is undeniably attractive, given the risk of STDs and AIDS and also broken relationships and even families, you still have to ask yourself are men’s brains fully wired on right? 😉

What Did The Cereal Box Say To The BMW?

What Did The Cereal Box Say To The BMW?

This family had just come out of Costco loaded with groceries.

They are heading to the garage to pack it into their car.

A BMW comes racing through the garage and runs over one of these mega Costco cereal boxes.

The car keeps going with the cereal box being dragged underneath.

The family runs through the garage and cuts off the BMW waving and yelling for him to stop.

He skids across the double-yellow line and stops blocking both sides of the road.

The man who lost his cereal bends under the front of the BMW to try to extricate the cereal.

The box is so Costco big, it barely can come out.

The man’s family looks on from the side.

Finally, he wiggles the box this way and that and gets the cereal box out from under the BMW.

The driver is standing there sort of bewildered by the whole thing.

If the cereal box could talk, I think it’d beg for a better ending than this.

Too often, as we go through life, we mow other people down who are in our way.

Thank G-d, this was just a box of cereal and not the man’s child or wife that had been run over and dragged.

I wondered how degrading it must have felt for this poor guy to be bending down in the street to get the box out, while the driver simply looks on in an uncaring disdain.

I almost thought for a moment, the driver was going to either just keep going or when he got out wallop the other guy for hassling him to get his cereal.

People can be strange that way and you never know what is going to happen next.

It is good that other people can be around with smartphone cameras and video, so that people don’t feel that they can just behave indiscriminately and obscurely.

In the end, no one should think they are all that–and have the right to uncaringly run over others’ persons or things.

We are all frail humans and G-d is always there with a very big, high megapixel smartphone recording it all for judgement day. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)